The top 5 cover-up tattoo artists in Toronto
The top cover-up tattoo artists in Toronto are also some of the best tattooers in the city. After all, you can't run before you learn to walk. And a tattoo artist can't do flawless cover-ups before they first master the fundamentals of tattooing on clean skin. And although there are dozens of artists doing amazing cover-up work all over Toronto, a few in particular stand out.
Here are my picks for the top cover-up tattoo artists in Toronto.
Fabrizio Divari, The Art of Fabrizio Divari
Despite a slew of industry accolades, this talented Italian-born tattooer manages to keep a low profile - quietly churning out his ink masterpieces from a private studio in Parkdale. Though his approach is complex, Divari says the end goal is simple: "A cover-up is a success when after it's finished you could never tell what or where it was before."
George Michael Brown III, Seven Crowns Tattoo
Whether he's camouflaging the stubborn line work of a tribal tattoo or creating a new one, Brown's work is consistently stellar. And unlike many tattooers who shy away from cover-ups, Brown and partner Matthew Ellis are building a reputation for embracing them. Brown says at least 50 per cent of his work involves some degree of cover-up.
Derek Lewis, Lewis Family Tattoo Company
Derek Lewis understands how it feels to have a tattoo that needs covering, because "I've got bad tattoos all over me," he says. Though he can't cover his own ink, he's doing a phenomenal job at his Roncesvalles Village studio. There, he creates gorgeous custom pieces that are bold and vibrant, with a sense of movement that belies their medium.
Raidel Bas, Adrenaline Toronto
Because tattooing is illegal in his native Cuba, Bas learned his craft the hard way - by studying magazines and practicing on friends. Along the way he developed a versatility that runs the gamut from realism to Japanese Irezumi to painterly styles. Bas says this is key when doing a cover-up: "The more flexible you are, the better the cover-up will work."
Ben Ackerman, Tattoos by Ben
After honing his craft at Yonge Street Tattoos, Ackerman now works out of a private studio. His work is bold and delicate, with a beautifully illustrative style. When it comes to cover-ups, Ackerman says the trick is choosing the right new design to camouflage the old one. "Images with a lot of broken lines and layered colours help a lot," he says.
On top of the artists listed above, honourable mention also goes to Csaba (Joe) Sipos, who is producing some of the most unbelievable cover-up tattoos you'll ever see out of Chronic Ink's Markham location. Who else would you recommend? Add your suggestions for Toronto cover-up tattoo artists in the comments.
Writing by Stacey Sleightholm. Top image courtesy Ben Ackerman.
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